When most marketers think outbound marketing, they think emails, paid advertising, and other digital campaigns aimed at engaging their target audience. We’ve written at length about how effective those tactics can be — but today, we’re talking about a different type of marketing campaign.
Direct mail is one of the very first outreach strategies employed by businesses. It’s also a tactic that many modern businesses have abandoned in favor of more efficient, cost-effective digital tactics. But much like direct dial communication, direct mail is by no means outdated: 39% of customers say they’ve tried a business for the first time as a result of direct mail marketing (source).
For today’s post, our friends at Topline Film are here to share some of their most memorable direct mail campaigns. Keep reading!
5 Unique B2B Direct Mail Campaigns from Topline Film
As a video production company that sells to other businesses, we have been doing B2B outreach for almost a decade. As is the nature of outbound marketing, some of our campaigns have been more successful than others.
So, we thought we’d share a few of our most memorable outreach campaigns — some that worked, and some that didn’t — and explain what valuable lessons we learned from each one. Let’s get into it!
The first of our creative outreach ideas was one of our most successful. We sent packages to 50 of our top prospects, with each package containing a mini-toolbox. The catch was, we removed a set of pliers from each toolbox, and sent a message which read, “Something missing from your marketing toolkit? We have it!”
The campaign was a success, as it generated a lot of positive buzz — and more importantly, it generated revenue. The toolkits led to us booking five meetings, ultimately winning two new customers. The whole campaign cost us £400, and we generated over £50,000 in revenue. A great return!
As we said earlier, not every outreach campaign is a winner — and our next example is one that didn’t pan out as well as we hoped. The idea was simple enough: we sent 100 branded cookies featuring pictures of our office dog to 100 sales prospects.
Unfortunately, the cookies seemed to annoy many of the prospects we sent them to. Maybe they didn’t taste great (we never sampled them!) Some arrived broken, while others arrived at the wrong address. We even got some follow-up calls, including one from a prospect who told us the cookies were a tacky gesture. The campaign cost around £250, but didn’t directly generate any new opportunities for our business.
3. Organic Jam
This next idea stemmed from a campaign in which we explored using video (and our sister SEO agency’s services) to help improve organic traffic. So, we sent jars of organic jam to our top 50 prospects, including a note which asked them if they needed help with organic search.
Crickets. Either the “organic” theme was lost on people, or they simply weren’t in the market for a solution to help them with organic search traffic. For whatever reason, the campaign didn’t work. We spent around £250 and received nothing in return.
4. Video Distribution Guides
For our next outbound campaign, we converted our guide to building a video distribution strategy into a printed book. We sent this guide to 30 individual prospects. The purpose of this campaign was to provide prospects with a useful piece of content to leave on their desks. In other words, we wanted to offer value while also keeping our brand front of mind.
This campaign cost us around £170 and resulted in two meetings, one of which converted into a customer. That customer has spent over £30k with us and also referred us to two new customers. In other words, this campaign was a great investment.
5. Personalized Video Cards
This last example was by far our most expensive campaign — but also our most lucrative. We sent out 200 personalized video cards which mentioned each prospect by name and included a quirky explanation of our video production process. These cards were novel and memorable; it’s not every day people receive a video in the mail.
The use of technology made this quite an expensive campaign, but it was worth it. Of the 200 cards we sent out to our target prospects, 40 led to conversations for a conversion rate of 20%. Nine of those 40 prospects have become customers, with 14 more still ongoing. We’ve generated over £300k in revenue as a result of this campaign, adding some big company logos to our client list. Not bad for a campaign which cost around £9k!
6 Takeaways from These B2B Direct Mail Campaigns
Topline has been able to make outbound marketing a key component to the growth of our business. We’ve learned valuable lessons from each campaign, from the major successes to the disappointments. Here are some key takeaways that might help you with your own direct marketing strategy.
1. Don’t give up if a campaign falls short of your expectations.
Not every campaign will be a resounding success, as shown by a few of the examples above. That’s okay! When a campaign falls short, learn from your mistakes and move on.
Don’t abandon outbound marketing entirely after your first failure. Instead, try to figure out why it didn’t go as planned and what you can do differently the next time. If possible, try to collect feedback from some of the prospects you reached out to. They can often provide insights you never considered when planning your campaigns. We’ll put it this way: if we had given up after the organic jam letdown, we would’ve never tried the video cards!
2. Be clever and unique, but always provide value.
Your outbound campaigns should be unique and unlike the other marketing tactics a prospect will encounter every day. A great outbound campaign pushes prospects to spread the word among their peers and on social media because they were so impressed by the unique idea.
But, be careful not to stray too far into gimmicky territory. The last thing you want is for prospects to perceive your brand as silly, contrived, or worse, unprofessional. Even if you’re just sending people a fun care package or lighthearted message, make sure you’re offering something of value.
3. Start small.
You might have a great idea for a massive outbound marketing campaign, but don’t rush into an elaborate, expensive project on your first attempt. Before you launch that campaign targeting 1,000 prospects, start with a trial run which targets only 100. You’ll be able to learn, adapt, and scale your results rather than blow your entire budget right away.
4. Make sure you have access to up-to-date prospect information.
It’s not always a good thing to be memorable — some outreach campaigns stand out in all the wrong ways. The worst thing you can do is send something to the wrong person or a wrong address and end up irritating a prospect or a total stranger.
Whether you send an email campaign or direct mail, make sure your marketing database is accurate, up-to-date. We learned our lesson after the failed cookie campaign!
5. Develop a follow-up strategy.
Of course, you want to surprise and delight your prospects with your creative outbound campaigns. But, that’s not your end-game — you spend all that time and resources so you can win new customers. That means follow-up is critical.
Before you launch your next campaign, determine a sales follow-up strategy so a rep can reach out to each target prospect in your campaign. If your efforts worked, these prospects will feel positively about your brand directly following the campaign — in other words, this is the best time to contact them and set up a meeting.
6. Consider the environment.
This final lesson doesn’t have much to do with your marketing results, but it’s one of the most important tips we can offer. If you’re mailing out a high quantity of branded items, make sure you’re not doing damage to the environment.
Plastic junk which immediately gets thrown out won’t earn you a new customer, but it may likely contribute to the negative impact of plastic waste on our environment. This is one of the reasons we use video cards sparingly, as they’re not the most sustainable form of marketing collateral.
Final Thoughts on B2B Direct Mail Campaigns
It’s no secret that these days, the majority of B2B marketing campaigns are planned and executed across digital channels. But it’s important to remember the unique charm of direct outreach: sending your prospects something in the mail, surprising them, giving them a tangible reminder of your brand.
We hope you were inspired by Topline’s stories of their own campaigns in today’s blog. And remember: every campaign, whether it’s a success or a failure, teaches you valuable lessons that help you improve your marketing strategy.
Jamie Field is a video strategist, production specialist, award-winning producer/director and MD of video production company TopLine Film. She love creating content that helps companies grow.